11/17/2005 12:00AM

Track's new GM Mackey already grooming successor


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Hastings announced two major changes at the management level Tuesday, when Michael Mackey replaced Michael Brown as general manager, and Raj Mutti was promoted from marketing manager to director of operations.

Mackey, who is 65, has had extensive experience in horse racing. At the beginning of this year he was hired as a consultant by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, the parent company of Hastings. As well as holding racetrack managerial positions in Tampa Bay, Miami, Cleveland, and Denver, Mackey has been a racing secretary and was a key player in the building and managing of Great Lake Downs in western Michigan. Before coming to Hastings this year, he was the president of Intertrack Partners in Illinois.

Although Mackey has been named the general manager, he said that Mutti will be sharing that role with him.

"I came here with a one-year work permit, and this was going to be a short adventure," Mackey said. "Now it's turned into a little longer one. Part of my new role will be to groom Raj. I know he's been involved in most of what goes on here, particularly the racing side. We're going to work together, and hopefully he'll be in a position to take over on his own when the old fart can't do this any more. Actually, from what I've seen from working with him in this capacity for just one day, there's nothing on the management platter that couldn't be handled by him right now."

Mutti, 24, graduated from the Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona in 2004, and he has also been a horse owner. One of the horses in whom he owns shares is Roscoe Pito, the 2003 local horse of the year. Mutti said he is looking forward to the challenge of his new position.

"I view this as a great opportunity to have a mentor like Michael," said Mutti. "My goal is to learn as much as I can from him, and I'm sure I'll grow from the experience."

Chuck Keeling, who oversees Great Canadian's racing interests, said he wasn't concerned that Mutti might not be ready for a senior management position at his young age.

"I was the same age when my father died and was thrown into the same role at Fraser Downs," he said. "Myself and other members of management at Great Canadian have noted Raj's potential, and we think he deserves this opportunity. He has a great passion for the industry and a tremendous work ethic. All the other stuff can be learned. I think he'll go a long way in this industry, but it's all up to him."

Fraser Downs is a harness track located in the suburbs of Vancouver. It was bought by Great Canadian last year.

Hall of Famer Anderson dead at 77

Local hall of fame trainer Robert G. "Cy" Anderson died of a heart attack Wednesday afternoon.

Anderson, who was 77, was the leading trainer at Hastings three times. He won his first title in 1976 and repeated in 1977. He also tied with George Cummins in 1984. He won 43 stakes at Hastings and he also had great success in Southern California, where he would spend the occasional winter. One season he won 13 races from 30 starts at Santa Anita.

He is survived by his wife, June, and their three children, Robbie, Mike and Barbara Heads.

Robbie and Barbara are among the leading trainers at Hastings and Mike is the common-law husband of Terry Clyde, who is second in the trainer standings.

According to Clyde, Anderson was driving a tractor on his farm when he had the heart attack.

"He loved tinkering around on the tractor," she said. "At least he went out doing something he loved. He's going to be missed."

Anderson retired in 1996 and was inducted into the hall of fame in 2001.

* The two leading riders at Hastings will be absent this weekend. Justin Stein will ride at Woodbine through next Friday, and he'll return here next Saturday for the final weekend of racing. Pedro Alvarado won the first two races last Sunday and then took off the rest of the card because of a sore knee. According to his agent, Paul Mabbott, Alvarado will take the rest of the year off.